Additionally, more than 1 million cigarettes or cigarette butts — enough to fill nearly 58,000 packs — were removed from American beaches and inland waterways in 2011 as part of the Ocean Conservancy's annual one-day International Coastal Cleanup. Cigarette litter represented about 31 percent of the total debris collected, making it the most-found item as part of those efforts.
"Trash is really too valuable to toss, so we need to find alternative ways to up cycle and change trash and repurpose it," said Nicholas Mallos, a marine debris specialist with group.
In 2003, Keep America Beautiful launched a cigarette litter prevention program, and it has grown to include more than 800 programs in 49 states and Washington, D.C. It was developed with funding from the nation's largest cigarette maker Philip Morris USA, which is owned by Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc. The program also has received additional funding from Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American, maker of Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes.
The new cigarette program builds on other recycling efforts by TerraCycle, which encourages consumers to collect difficult-to-recycle materials through programs funded by companies within specific industries. For example, Frito Lay Inc. funds a program to recycle used chip bags and Kraft Foods Inc. sponsors a program to collect plastic containers from dairy products. For most programs, participants receive credits that can be donated to various charities and causes.
Santa Fe Natural Tobacco: http://www.sfntc.com
Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum.